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Monday, September 16, 2019

Kallidaikurichi Nataraja returns by Tamil Nadu Express, flown from Oz

We go to temples ~ .. .. the administration of the Temple (managing the funds received and administering the various functional activities) lies with the Govt. – done through Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) – that way you have the State Govt celebrating the birth of ex-CM in Temples, though this activity would have absolutely no connection with the Temple, Lord, its devotees and more so, in respect of the donations offered in Hundis and other ways – as these are specific towards the temple and not for anything else. ~ and sadly there have been cases of Temple Idols the Murthis which are worshipped being stolen and taken to foreign countries as a show-piece. 

In the time machine, and an year back ! ~ shouts of சோழ மண்டலாதிபதி மாமன்னர் வீராதிவீரர் ராஜராஜசோழன் வருகிறார் -  பராக் ! பராக்!! !!  rant the air .. ..  to the delight of huge crowds.  It was a reverential home coming for the two icons of King Raja RajaChola, who built the Big temple at Thanjavur and his queen Lokamadevi, when they were brought by Idol wing police headed by Pon. Manikavel, IG, to the court which deals with idol theft cases at Kumbakonam on Friday, 1st June 2018. People gathered in large numbers and welcomed the icons by shouting “Raja Raja Chola Vaazhga” when they were brought by the police at Bhakthapri rountana at Kumbakonam for presenting before the court.

Down under, Kallidaikurichi is a dusty  town on the right banks of the Thamiraparani river in Ambasamudram Taluk of Tirunelveli district.  Like some other villages in Thirunelveli, this place too is steeped in tradition and is rich in heritage, but struggling to hold on to its past glories. Kallidaikurichi's Hindu shrines are of ancient temple architecture style, having high-rise gopurams (ornamental gateways of temples) with sculptures that herald the past glory of this region.  Muthuswami Dikshitar, the carnatic composer, whose songs abound with geographic and iconographic references, sings of the curative properties of the river Thamiraparani. To him, the Goddess at Tirunelveli, is Hima-saila-sutaa (daughter of the mountain snow). This town is located about 70 km north of Kanyakumari (Cape Comerin). The twin cities of Tirunelveli and Palayamkottai are about 35 km away.

This is no post on the Temple or its surrounding but of its idol – Swami Nataraja returning after 4 decades from Oz.    On Friday, it is stated that the platforms of Puratchithalaivar Dr MGR Central railway station was abuzz as Tamilnadu Express arrived.  It had brought back  16th century Nataraja panchaloha idol stolen from a Tirunelveli temple ~  still  the return of the lost idol could not rid hostility or smoothen divisions.Lord  Nataraja has completed a long journey overseas.  The idol, which belongs to a temple in Kallidaikurichi in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, was on Wednesday flown down to New Delhi from the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA)where it had been displayed for several years. It had been stolen from the Tirunelveli shrine in 1982.

Australian Press had written about this 600-year-old Dancing Shiva owned by the Art Gallery of South Australia, at Adelaide having been identified as stolen from India, with authorities  commencing a bid for its return.The statue is the first antiquity India has claimed from 24 potentially problematic pieces identified by AGSA in 2014.  Five years after suspicions were raised over the origins of the statue, Indian police this week linked it to a temple in the southern Indian city of Nellai, where a photograph shows it in place in 1958.It is understood the bronze, bought in 2001 with $436,000 in donated funds and weighing 100 kilograms, was reported missing in July 1982.

The Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) was not named in the police statement but its acting director, Lisa Slade, confirmed the statue was the one identified by Indian officers.The Art Gallery of South Australia has one of the largest art museum collections in Australia, comprising  of almost 45,000 works of art spanning 2000 years. Their collection includes paintings, prints and drawings, photographs and videos, textiles and clothing, ceramics, glass, metalwork, jewellery, furniture – a n d .. .. ‘sculptures’ what they call as work of art – to us ‘idol of Gods’. Their website claims that in  1939 the Gallery became the first Australian art museum to acquire a work by an Aboriginal artist and today, the traditional and the contemporary unite a diverse collection which includes desert paintings on canvas, bark paintings in ochre, photography, video, textiles, ceramics, glass and sculpture.

A team of police officers from the idol wing led by court-appointed special officer Pon Manickavel brought the packed and sealed idol by Tamil Nadu Express from New Delhi. The officer accused the state government of not extending his team cooperation and financial assistance in bringing back rare idols stolen from various temples in Tamil Nadu and housed in galleries abroad. “We have written to the state government seeking its support to bring back 20 stolen idols in art galleries in Australia, Singapore and other countries. But so far, we have not got a positive reply,” Manickavel told TOI.He said not less than 1,000 temple idols stolen from the State were currently being showcased in art galleries abroad. “We could not bring the Nataraja idol by flight as we did not get support from the government,” he said. Had there been support from the government, the first batch of 20 idols in Australia, Singapore and other countries could have been brought back to India, he added.

Around 7.10am on Friday, a musical band and artists playing the thavil and nadaswaram synchronized to drown the sound of train entering platform six at the Central station. Oduvars and priests sang Tamil hymns praising the deity. Emotions ran high as flowers were strewn over the sealed box containing the idol. It was placed on a table and a carpenter used tools to open it.After the idol was taken out of the box, head priest of the Kallidaikurichi temple M Krishnamurthi draped a silk veshti and towel around it before lovingly decorating it with flowers and garlands given to him by several devotees from Chennai. After a small pooja, a grand arati was performed with devotees and police officers singing Tamil hymns in praise of the deity.

The entrance to the Central station was crowded with people, eager to catch a glimpse of the idol and take part in the ritual.“We will take care of the idol once it reaches our temple and ensure its safety. We are excited to have our Lord back,” said Krishnamurthi. The statue was taken by road to Trichy. It will be presented in a Kumbakonam court before being taken home.

According to sources, the 600-year-old idol, weighing around 100 kg, was stolen after the doors of the sanctum sanctorum were broken open on July 5, 1982. Along with it, a 2.5-foot tall panchaloka idol of Sivakami, 1.5-foot tall Manickavasagar idol and 1-foot tall Sribali idol were also stolen.A complaint was filed by the then trustee of the temple, following which the Kallidaikurichi police had registered a First Information Report (FIR) on July 6, 1982. However, two years later the Kallidaikurichi police closed the case concluding that the idol was untraceable.

To the fortune of devotees,  a few years ago, the case was handed over to the court-appointed Idol Wing special team, led by Manickavel. After investigation, the case was reopened and taken up for investigation by the wing’s Additional SP Rajaram. The  idol which was kept in the gallery in Adelaide, Australia for 17 years was traced a year ago. As a result of the Idol Wing special officer and retired Inspector-General of Police A.G. Pon Manickavel’s persistent effort to bring the Indian heritage back to the country, the Australian authorities formally handed over the idol to officers of the wing in New Delhi on September 11 (Wednesday).  Mr PonManickavel revealed that after locating and convincing the Australian authorities and Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) by producing the records substantiating that the temple is the original owner of the idol with photographs taken before the theft of the idol, that the idol belonged to India, they agreed to return the idol. However, the Tamil Nadu State government refused funds to bring back the idol for the last 330 days.

Feeling happy on the return of Nataraja .. .. the return drowns the sorrow of the way of people, the burglary, the reaction, closure of file, the return by Tamil Nadu Express train and .. having to go to Court at Kumbakonam .. .. 

Before concluding, the Madras high court has granted interim stay on the lower court’s order cancelling bail for HR&CE additional commissioner N Thirumagal, an accused in the Kapaleeswarar temple idol theft case. She said the idol case was registered in 2018 and she was the second accused. She was granted bail later but the idol wing police filed an application seeking to cancel her bail, which was granted.

Away in the town of Lord Nataraja, a  wedding ceremony inside the 1,000-pillar hall of the historic Chidambaram Nataraja temple in Cuddalore district recently  has kicked up a row.  This is the first time a wedding was conducted in the 1,000-pillar hall of the 12th-century temple. The hall traditionally served as a sacred place for performing abhishegam for the presiding deity Lord Nataraja and Sivagami Amman during the Tamil months of Aani and Margazhi.

We the devotees, bow in obeisance to the Lord to protect us and ensure that we take all measures in protecting the glory of culture and our Temples.  .. .. and one would fail if not to mention the efforts of ayya Pon Manickavel ~ a real gem.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th Sept. 2019.

Nimbostratus / cumulonimbus clouds .... cloud seeding !!! ~ Project Stormfury

How often do you look at the skys ! ~ especially when the rain is forecast ?  .. clouds are fascinating.  Clouds form through the process of condensation when water vapour, primarily from the oceans, rises into the atmosphere gets cooled and condensed to cloud formations.  When the condensed droplets in a cloud get large enough, they’ll fall as precipitation.  Not all clouds are rain-bearing ! Nimbus clouds produce drizzle to downpours; more violent relatives of theirs may unleash rain as part of intense thunderstorms.   Nimbus is an ancient Latin word meaning “rain storm.” The prefix “nimbo-” or the suffix “-nimbus” designate two prominent kinds of rain clouds, "nimbostratus” and “cumulonimbus," although rain sometimes falls from other cloud varieties.   Here are clouds seen in Himalayas [photo taken by me !]

The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court Friday asked the Central and Tamil Nadu governments why could not they try modern artificial methods such as 'cloud seeding' to generate rain to tackle drinking water shortage. Also, the court asked why were the governments not establishing more desalination plants on various coastal areas to overcome water scarcity.Justices N Kirubakaran and S Sundar shot these questions while hearing public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a direction to the governments to store water on a war-footing and direct the departments concerned to provide drinking water regularly.The judges wondered as to why the governments could not set up more desalination plants by tying up with corporates under the corporate social responsibility initiative.With rainfall scarce and water-table depleting, the petition said, the governments should use new methods like cloud seeding to tackle scarcity.

Cloud seeding is perhaps nothing new ! ~ its effectiveness not known – have heard of this in late 1970s and early 1980s  - when we wondered seeing small aircrafts spraying chemicals on the sky – not much of rains followed though !

Cloud seeding is a type of weather modification that aims to change the amount or type of precipitation that falls from clouds by dispersing substances into the air that serve as cloud condensation or ice nuclei, which alter the microphysical processes within the cloud. Cloud seeding also occurs due to ice nucleators in nature, most of which are bacterial in origin.  The most common chemicals used for cloud seeding include silver iodide, potassium iodide and dry ice (solid carbon dioxide). Liquid propane, which expands into a gas, has also been used. This can produce ice crystals at higher temperatures than silver iodide.

In mid-altitude clouds, the usual seeding strategy has been based on the fact that the equilibrium vapour pressure is lower over ice than over water. The formation of ice particles in supercooled clouds allows those particles to grow at the expense of liquid droplets. If sufficient growth takes place, the particles become heavy enough to fall as precipitation from clouds that otherwise would produce no precipitation. Seeding of warm-season or tropical cumulonimbus (convective) clouds seeks to exploit the latent heat released by freezing.

Cloud seeding chemicals may be dispersed by aircraft or by dispersion devices located on the ground (generators or canisters fired from anti-aircraft guns or rockets). For release by aircraft, silver iodide flares are ignited and dispersed as an aircraft flies through the inflow of a cloud. Whether cloud seeding is effective in producing a statistically significant increase in precipitation is still a matter of academic debate, with contrasting results depending on the study in question, and contrasting opinion among experts.

Project Stormfury was an attempt to weaken tropical cyclones by flying aircraft into them and seeding with silver iodide. The project was run by the United States Government from 1962 to 1983.The hypothesis was that the silver iodide would cause supercooled water in the storm to freeze, disrupting the inner structure of the hurricane. This led to the seeding of several Atlantic hurricanes. However, it was later shown that this hypothesis was incorrect. It was determined that most hurricanes do not contain enough supercooled water for cloud seeding to be effective. The last experimental flight was flown in 1971, due to a lack of candidate storms and a changeover in NOAA's fleet. More than a decade after the last modification experiment, Project Stormfury was officially cancelled.

Hurricane Debbie in 1969 provided the best opportunity to test the underpinnings of Project Stormfury. In many ways it was the perfect storm for seeding: it did not threaten any land; it passed within range of seeding aircraft; and was intense with a distinct eye. On August 18 and again on August 20, thirteen planes flew out to the storm to monitor and seed it. In the early 1970s, the Navy withdrew from the project.

Perhaps when it was tried in Tamilnadu, the technique was neither new nor in vogue! ~ the experiment was not exactly a success – it was stated that experiment on cloud can be done only  when the cloud is in a developing stage.  It was tried again in 1985 and it was stated that there were 10 days of rain but no scientific means to establish that they were related to cloud seeding technique.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th Sept. 2019.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Atharva Anoklekar helps India defend small target and win title

How much of Cricket do you follow ? – and are you one following Team India’s fortunes at every level .. .. if so, did you enjoy (rather shout loudly) when Atharva Ankolekar fired that beautiful delivery deceiving and clean bowling Shahin Alam out !!  .. .. if you are asking – Atharva, who ? – you cannot be faulted, but please do read this post in full !!

So you are unlikely to know -  Dhruv Chand Jurel from Agra who is Captain and wicket keeper too.  Any reference to a keeper is most likely to lead to King MSD.  But where is MS Dhoni .. is he in or out ?   he sits in the minds of important people and rest of Indian cricket even as a home international season starts. His absence and his  presence, is all the more significant as this season begins with T20Is, a format that will remain India's focus for the next year or so, leading up to the T20 World Cup at the start of the Australian summer next year.  .. and the first T20 against SA is at Dharmasala tomorrow .. ..   Dhoni is not here as India begin their planning for the world event. Nor is he retired. Or injured. He is not rested; that happened during the West Indies tour. Nobody dares utter the word "dropped".  Indian selectors have treated shabbily – Srinivasan Venkatraghavan, Mohinder Amarnath, legendary Kapil Dev, Sehwag among many others !!

Some of you might have followed domestic tournament Duleep Trophy.  In our younger days, it was a premier tournament and a performance there was likely to guarantee a place in the National Team ! .. the  Duleep Trophy was named after Kumar Shri Duleepsinhji of Nawanagar (also known as 'Duleep'), the competition was originally started in 1961  contested by teams representing geographical zones of India. The inaugural tournament was won by West Zone who defeated South Zone in the final by 10 wickets. In the 1962–63 season four of the five teams (all except Central Zone) had their bowling attacks strengthened by a West Indies Test cricketer.  North Zone and West Zone have been the most successful teams with 18 wins each, although North's total includes one shared trophy and West's three.  Until 2014-15, five Indian zonal teams regularly took part in the Duleep Trophy – North Zone, South Zone, East Zone, West Zone and Central Zone. The original format was that the five teams played each other on a knock-out basis. From the 1993–94 season, the competition converted to a league format.  .. .. then it was diluted and now the trophy is played between teams selected by the Board !!!

Atharva Ankolekar has risen the hard way sweating and persevering amidst personal tragedy.     Son of a bus conductor, Atharva Ankolekar was not even 10  when his father passed away. His mother Vaidehi Ankolekar raised him single-handedly, working as a conductor in BEST, Mumbai bus services.  He was  selected for Indian Under-19 cricket team for the Youth Asia Cup in Sri Lanka. He  is a left-arm orthodox and left hand bat, currently studying in a college in Mumbai.   One of the most memorable moment of his short career was in  2010, when Atharva dismissed the legendary Sachin Tendulkar in a practice match. Impressed with the child, Tendulkar  later  gave him with a pair of autographed gloves.

The ACC Under-19 Asia Cup is a cricket tournament organised by the ACC for Under-19 teams from its member nations. It was first held in 1989 in Bangladesh where India won the tournament. The eight edition was held in September 2019 in Sri Lanka & India retained their title… .. but that was after lot of drama !  The score card reads :  India Under-19s 106 (Karan Lal 37, Hossain 3-8) beat Bangladesh Under-19s 101 (Akbar Ali 23, Ankolekar 5-28) by five runs

Left-arm spinner Atharva Ankolekar broke Bangladesh's spirited late resistance to help India defend 106, taking them to a seventh Under-19 Asia Cup title with a five-run win in a rain-interrupted, nerve-wracking encounter in Colombo. Needing 29 runs to win after being reduced to 78 for 8 in 21.1 overs, Tanzim Hasan Sakib and Rakibul Hasan put up a patient 23-run stand, taking Bangladesh close to their maiden title, before Ankolekar struck twice in the 33rd over to finish with figures of 5 for 28 in eight overs.

India started poorly after they elected to bat, reduced to 8 for 3 by seamers Sakib and Mrittunjoy Chowdhury within the first six overs. A 45-run stand between Dhruv Jurel and Shashwat Rawat helped rebuild the innings, before offspinner Shamim Hossain broke through, picking Rawat and next batsman Varun Lavande in the same over. Karan Lal at No. 8 then shored up India after having walked in at 61 for 6 in the 20th over, hitting the day's highest score of 37, which played a major part in getting India to a three-digit score. He was the last batsman to be dismissed, bringing the Indian innings to a close in 32.4 overs. Chowdhury and Shahin Alam cleaned up the tail to finish with three wickets each.

In reply, Bangladesh too were dealt early blows with fast bowlers Akash Singh and Vidhyadhar Patel striking in succession to reduce them to 16 for 4 in 4.1 overs. India seized control when Bangladesh captain Akbar Ali and Chowdhury - who were the only ones to cross 20 in the innings - fell within a space of three balls.  There was brilliant fightback by  Sakib and Rakibul for the ninth wicket,  the duo batting for 11.2 overs. Ankolekar  trapped  Sakib in front, leaving Bangladesh needing just six runs with one wicket remaining, and the match still poised on knife's edge. It ended two balls later, when Ankolekar bowled No. 11 Shahin Alam to wrap up a win for India. Ankolekar also finished as the tournament's highest wicket-taker, with 12 wickets in three matches.

The match was really nail-baiting .. well done Atharva Ankolekar !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
14th Sept. 2019.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

remembering the great poet, inspirationalist, freedom fighter Subrahmanya Barathiyar

பார்மீது நான் சாகாதிருப்பேன், காண்பீர்!
மலிவுகண்டீர் இவ்வுண்மை பொய்கூறேன் யான் !!,
மடிந்தாலும் பொய்கூறேன் மானுடர்க்கே,
நலிவுமில்லை;  சாவுமில்லை,கேளீர்,கேளீர்!

சுப்ரமணிய பாரதியார் ~ ஒரு உன்னத பிறவி.   கவிதைகள் வாயிலாக மக்களின் மனதில் விடுதலை உணர்வை ஊட்டியவர். இவர் ஒரு கவிஞர் மட்டுமல்லாமல் ஒரு எழுத்தாளர், பத்திரிக்கை ஆசிரியர், சமூக சீர்திருத்தவாதி - தன்  காலத்துக்கு  மிகவும் பல்லாண்டுகள்  பிறகு நடக்க வல்லவை பற்றி  கூர் நோக்குடன் சிந்தித்தவர்.  நம் கருத்துக்களை ஏன் மக்கள் எதிர்க்கிறார்கள் என்று ஒருநாள் கண்ணன் கேட்டார். அதற்கு பாரதி,  ‘ஏனெனில் நம் கருத்துக்கள் இன்னும் நானூறு ஆண்டுகள் கழித்து சொல்லப்பட வேண்டியவை. இவர்களால் புரிந்துகொள்ள முடியாது’ என்றார்.  பாரதி மஹாகவி மட்டுமல்லன் ! ~ கவிதை அவர்க்கு சரஸ்வதி தேவியின் வரம்.  அவரது சிந்தனை, வார்த்தைகள்,  செயல் எல்லாமே தேசபக்தி. விடுதலை உணர்வு ~ ஆங்கிலேயர்க்கு அடிமைப்பட்டிருந்த பாரதத்தை உலுக்கி  எழுப்பின  அவர்தம்  பாடல்கள். அவர்தம் எண்ணங்கள் காலத்தை கடந்தவை.  உண்மையிலேயே அவர் தாம் வாழ்ந்த காலத்தினை தாண்டி சிந்தனை கொண்ட தீர்க்கதரிசி.
House at Triplicane where Bharathiyar lived .. .. 

பாரதியார்  குறைந்த காலமே வாழ்ந்தாலும் சாதனைகள் செய்தவர். இளமையிலேயே கவிபாடும் திறமை பெற்றிருந்த சுப்பிரமணியன், எட்டையபுர சமஸ்தானப் புலவர்கள் அவையில் பாரதி என்ற பட்டம் பெற்றார். அன்று முதல் இவர்  “சுப்பிரமணிய பாரதியார்”   என அழைக்கப்பெற்றார்.

For most people, Sept. 11 draws remembrance to that ghastly terrorist attack that shook the United States.  Sept. 11, 2001, will always be recognized as a day of tribulation in the United States. Some 3,000 people lost their lives in multiple terrorist attacks, the largest one being the fall of the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York City. Thousands of first responders and civilians risked their lives to save others. 

It is 18 years since – for some life has changed, for it stands frozen and there are those who are deeply impacted by that ghastly act of terrorism. It is not simply the count of dead or those maimed, the toll is actually more.  Many forms of carcinogens were left in the air and inhaled by thousands of people. General illnesses caused from high levels of dust inhalation have attributed to chronic coughs and asthma for bystanders and first responders. Most severely, multiple forms of leukemia, melanoma and mesothelioma cancers have been linked to the destruction at the World Trade Centre in 2001.  Sadly, it is reported that  many diseases linked to 9/11 have latency periods of 10 to 20 years, meaning some of the potential health impacts of the tragedy are yet to come.
This day,  Sept. 11, is remembered World over for various reasons ! -  this post is slightly different  - we mourn the great loss of the Nation on this day 98 years ago (actually a day later).  The man, the fighter, the poet Mahakavi Subrahmanya Bharathiyar.  He was a Genius, Extrovert, Patriot, Poet,  Thinker, man who dreamed beyond his time,  an eternal Optimist, man with die-hard spirit, motivator, man capable of uniting great minds, natural leader – all rolled one. Most unfortunate thing was his age – his life was too short - he lived for only 39 years and passed away 98 years ago.

Mahakavi Subramanya Barathi lived in Thulasinga Perumal Kovil Street (TP Koil Street) during his last years – he was a tenant in a small portion (single room) in the  house seen here (Sri Kannan Sri Jayanthi purappadu)

At the age of seven, Subbiah started writing poems in Tamil. When he was eleven, he wrote in such a way that even learned men praised him for his great knowledge and skill.  The boy who was till then referred to as “Ettayapuram Subbiah” was proudly referred as “Bharathi” thenceforth  by nationalists and by millions of Tamil lovers all over the globe.  In June 1897, at a very young age of 15 (customary those days) his  marriage took place, and his child-bride was Chellammal.  Bharathi left for Benaras (Kasi). He lived there the next two years with his aunt Kuppammal and her husband Krishna Sivan.  He learnt with flair and became expert in Sanskrit, Hindi and English, passing  with credit the Entrance Examination of the Allahabad University. The Benares  stay brought about a tremendous change in Bharathi’s personality.  His personality and looks too changed – he started sporting a twirled  moustache;  a  turban and acquired a bold swing in his walk.

He lived the life of a fearless journalist reaching great heights.  He rose to become sub-editor of  “Swadesamitran” in Nov 1904.  .. ..  his prime of life was spent running away from the British ensuring that the fire for freedom was stoked with his powerful words.  “India”  the magazine saw the light of the day in May, 1906. It declared as its motto the three slogans of the French Revolution, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. It blazed a new trail in Tamil Journalism. In order to proclaim its revolutionary ardour, Bharathi had the weekly printed in red paper. “India” was the first paper in Tamil Nadu to publish political cartoons. He also published and edited a few other journals like “Vijaya”.

In May 1907, Bipin Chandra Pal visited Madras and gave six lectures on the Triplicane Beach every day evening from 3 to 8. These lectures brought out a perceptible change in the attitude of the people. Bharathiyar wrote in his India on 11 May 1907, that the visit and speeches of Pal had cast a miraculous effect on the otherwise slumbering people of Madras. After the visit in every street and in every place the talk was only about Nationalism and the first utterance was Vande Mataram.  His association with  VO Chidambaram Pillai became more intimate, the latter floated his Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company in 1906. Bharathi helped him in getting contributions for shares in the company and donations. The great man hailed as Kappalottiya thamizhan fought  Imperial British traders challenging them at sea.  The British, irked by this, foisted on VOC  serious charges of sedition and conspiracy, and sentenced  him two life terms of rigorous imprisonment whence he was physically assaulted and humiliated.  Barathiyar too underwent harassment and was severely injured in prison, which in fact led to his death.

On August 4,1921, he wrote an article in “ Swadesamitran ” describing his Erode visit, and on the problem of conquering death and living in eternity. In a poem addressed to the god of death, Yama, (“காலனுக்கு உரைத்தது”) Bharati wrote that he would never let death come anywhere near him, and that he would kick death with his foot should death dare approach him. 

History written by British has it that the elephant of Sri Parthasarathi temple trampled him to death ~ though an incident of elephant brushing Mahakavi Subramanya Barathiyar did occur, he lived for more than 3 months after that reported incident – and most probably died to failing health, derived from the boot blows and harsh treatment meted out in prison by British authorities – which is comfortably hidden in history.  
              மஹாகவியின் இனிய நண்பர் 'குவளை கண்ணண் என்பார்.  ஸ்ரீ பார்த்தசாரதி கோவில் சம்பந்தப்பட்ட இவர் பாரதியுடனே இருந்து அவரை நன்கு பேணிக்காத்துள்ளார்.  இதோ பாரதியின் வரிகள், குவளை கண்ணனைப்பற்றி :

மகத்தான முனிவரெலாம் கண்ணன் தோழர்;
வானவரெல் லாங்கண்ணன் அடியாராவார்;
மகத்தானு முயர்ந்ததுணி வுடைய நெஞ்சின்
வீரர்பிரான் குவளையூர்க் கண்ணன் என்பான்,

வெள்ளையர் தம் அடக்குமுறை, எப்போதும் ஓட்டம், பசி, பிணி போன்றவற்றால் வாடிய மஹாகவிஞனை - "கோவில் யானை அடித்து கொன்றது" என்ற கட்டுக்கதையை பரப்பியுள்ளனர்.  யானையால் பாரதி தள்ளுண்ட நிகழ்வு ஒரு ஜூன்  மாதத்தில் நிகழ்ந்ததாம்; அப்போது அவரை குவளை கண்ணன் காப்பாற்றியுள்ளார்.   அச் சம்பவத்தின் பின்பு அவர் வழக்கம் போல "சுதேச மித்திரன்" பத்திரிகை அலுவலகம் சென்று தனது வேலைகளைச் செய்து வந்துள்ளார். மேலும் சென்னை நகரக் கடற்கரைப் பொதுக்கூட்டங்களில் தொடர்ந்தும் கலந்து கொண்டு வந்துள்ளார். ஜூலை  31ம் திகதி கருங்கற்பாளைய வாசகசாலையின் 5வது வருடக் கொண்டாட்டக் கூட்டத்தில் பாரதியார் பேசிய உரையின் தலைப்பு "மனிதனுக்கு மரணமில்லை."  - அவர் இறந்ததோ செப்ட் 12 அதிகாலை !!!
Signature of C. Subrahmanya Barathi

 1882, டிசம்பர், 11ல் எட்டயபுரத்தில் பிறந்த மகாகவி பாரதி, 1921, செப்டம்பர், 11ல், சென்னையில் இறந்தார் என்பது  பன்னாள்  வரலாறு. தமிழக, புதுச்சேரி அரசுகள், செப்டம்பர், 11ம் தேதியை, பாரதியின் நினைவு நாளாக அனுசரித்து வந்துள்ளன.  திருவல்லிக்கேணி இல்லத்தில் அவரது நினைவு நிகழ்வுகள் செப்ட் 11ல் நடந்துள்ளன. ஆயினும் - அந்த கொடிய நாள் செப்ட் 12 - (அதிகாலை).   சென்னை மாநகராட்சி பதிவேட்டில், செப்டம்பர், 12ல், இறந்தார் என, பதிவாகி உள்ளது.   இந்த நிகழ்வை உறுதிப்படுத்தும் வகையில், தஞ்சைத் தமிழ்ப் பல்கலைக் கழகத்தின், பாரதி பாடல் ஆய்வுப் பதிப்பு நுாலிலும், 1921, செப்டம்பர் 12, 01:30 மணி என்றே குறிப்பிடப்பட்டுள்ளது. 

மஹாகவி வாழ்ந்த மண்ணில் வாழ்வதை பெருமையாக கருதும் - பாரதியின் பற்றாளன் - திருவல்லிக்கேணி வாழ் ஸ்ரீனிவாசன் சம்பத்குமார்

PS : the confusion in date is rather trifle.  It was on the night of 11.9 – rather early hours of 12.9.  In his Death certificate [downloadable from Chennai Corporation website] – his name is misspelt as ‘C Subramani Barthy’ ! – address is 67 TP Koil Street; Date of death given as 12.9.1921 – age again wrongly given as 38 instead of 39. Perhaps all that reflects the care and concern ! Sad !!!
death certificate downloaded from Chennai Corporation website
photo of Barathiyar statue (with garlands taken this morning – likely it was garlanded on 11.9.2019)

                 see the crude correction in the plaque in front of Barathiyar memorial at Thiruvallikkeni 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Sri Lanka ponders security situation and tour to Pak 2019

Madagamagamage Dasun Shanaka  will lead Sri Lanka in T20 and Lahiru Thirimanne in ODIs .. .. just in case, you are wondering who this Shanaka is ? 
Shattered bus glass !n a decade ago !!

Hours before the deal reached between the United States and the Taliban for withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan collapsed, Amrullah Saleh, vice-presidential candidate and running mate of President Ashraf Ghani in the uncertain September 28 presidential election, told newspersons  that the (then imminent) deal was “not a deal for or of the Afghans”.  Saleh, a former chief of the Afghan intelligence service National Directorate of Security, had said in an email interview (conducted before President Donald Trump called off the peace talks with the Taliban) that “the key is for the Taliban to realise they can’t subdue a nation by guns and bombs provided by the Pakistani ISI and the army”.

In an unrelated move, Pakistan Army announced the promotion of four major generals to the rank of lieutenant generals, said a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).  In August, Prime Minister Imran Khan gave a three-year extension to General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the country’s army chief, in view of the ‘regional security environment’.

Authorities on Sunday suspended mobile services in Karachi and Nawabshah as part of security measures during Muharram processions. Sindh government  confirmed that mobile service was suspended in 245 areas in Karachi. The province's Home Department Secretary Abdul Kabir Qazi said that cellular signals were jammed in the areas which are "flashpoints" and where major processions and 'majlis' (gatherings) are held. The service will be suspended in all areas where processions have been planned, including small towns, reported Dawn. Security has been beefed up in the province to prevent any untoward incidents. According to The News International, there would be a ban on publication and broadcasting of "hate material". The police have said that the cellular services will remain suspended in Nawabshah, as well as Sanghar and Naushahro Feroze districts until the evenings of the ninth and 10th of Muharram. In Islamabad, Section 144 will be imposed in areas from where the processions will pass on the ninth day of Muharram.

The news of pullout by 10 top Lankan players out of their country’s upcoming tour of Pakistan for 3 ODIs and 3 T20I matches has polarised opinions across the cricket world. While former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja slammed the Sri Lankan cricketers who have chosen to pull out, former speedster Shoaib Akhtar has joined his senior in condemning the move. Taking to Twitter, Akhtar expressed his disappointment at the pull-out and tried to remind them of how Pakistan has 'always been a huge support for SL cricket'.  "So disappointed with the 10 Sri Lankan players who have pulled out of Pakistan tour. Pakistan has always been a huge support for SL cricket. Recently after deadly Easter Attacks in SL, our under-19 team was sent on tour there, being the first international team to volunteer. And of course who can forget the 1996 World Cup when Australia & West Indies refused to tour Sri Lanka. Pakistan sent a combined team with India to play a friendly match in Colombo. We expect reciprocation from Sri Lanka. Their board is cooperating, players should also": Akhtar wrote in a series of tweets.

The announcement of pullout  comes two days after Dimuth Karunaratne and Lasith Malinga, the incumbents, informed the Sri Lanka Cricket of their unwillingness to tour Pakistan, along with eight others, citing security concerns. Minod Banuka, the 24-year old wicketkeeper-batsman, is the only uncapped member in the 15-man ODI squad. Banuka along with Bhanuka Rajapaksa are the two uncapped names in the T20I squad. Banuka has been part of Sri Lanka's Emerging squad while Rajapaksa was on Sri Lanka A's tour of India in June.

Still worser, Sri Lanka's forthcoming tour of Pakistan has been thrown into doubt after Sri Lanka's government is said to have received news of a "possible terrorist threat on the Sri Lanka team". The team was scheduled to leave for the tour in less than two weeks, but the tour now hinges on a "reassessment of the security situation in Pakistan". One security assessment - described as "meticulous" by an SLC official - had already been conducted, with the board formerly convinced that the tour was safe. But this new information about a specific threat on the team has sparked fresh fears. "Sri Lanka Cricket has y sought the assistance of the Sri Lankan government to conduct a 'reassessment' of the security situation in Pakistan ahead of the national team's planned tour to Pakistan," a board release said.  With 10 frontline players already having refused to tour Pakistan, this new perceived threat may create apprehension among even the players who have agreed to travel.

Cricket in Pakistan came to a halt in 2009, after the Sri Lanka team was attacked by gunmen on the way to the ground in Lahore.  A decade ago, in Mar 2009,  on a  dark day for Cricket occurred.  At Gadaffi stadium, Thilan Samaraweera notched  up his second successive Test double century following his 231 in the First Test at Karachi.  Thilan became the  sixth batsman after Walter Hammond, Don Bradman, Vinod Kambli, Kumar Sangakkara and Graeme Smith to score successive double centuries in Test matches.  Then the next day, unidentified gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Sri Lankan cricket team as they were on their way to stadium in Lahore.  Dawn news channel showed footage of two gunmen opening fire using Kalashnikovs.  Six policemen  were  dead, three more are seriously injured. The attackers exploded two bombs and men started firing at a police van which was providing security to the Lankan team.   Some players sustained injuries.  The players later left from the stadium by helicopter – that sounded a death-knell for Cricket in Pakistan – though Abu dhabi offered its premises for matches involving Pak later.

A day after 10 top Sri Lankan cricketers pulled out of an upcoming Pakistan tour over security concerns, motormouth Pakistani minister Chaudhary Fawad Hussain  claimed that India had threatened the players, forcing them to take the step. In a tweet on Tuesday, Pakistan minister for Science and Technology, Fawad Hussain said, "Informed sports commentators told me that India threatened SL players that they ll be ousted from IPL if they don't refuse Pak visit, this is really cheap tactic, jingoism from sports to space is something we must condemn, really cheap on the part of Indian sports authorities (sic)".

Comic !!  reaction of a Minister .. .. for Science & Technology

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
11th Sept 2019.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Chandrayaan 2 - Vikram lander ... and NDTV journalist Q to Scientist !!

In late 1970s and early 1980s, Doordarshan had only one channel, telecast was in black & white – Test Cricket would be covered with a single Camera – if Madanlal ran in towards us at Chepauk, next over Karsan Ghavri would run away from us ! ~ then there was the commentary – against New Zealand, Srinivasan Venkatraghavan rescued India with a half-century and went on his knees to hoist Peter Petherick for a six.  When he square cut the off spinner for a four – commentator would say, a very good shot.  Then .. what do you think of that Lala ? [Lala Amarnath or CD Gopinath or some other player with grand Cricket experience would sit as Expert commentator] who would revert – stating ‘that was a delicate square cut’ ?   ~ every one can follow the game, observe something, reel out statistics but those with ground experience could bring out the finer aspects !!

Around 1.52 am on September 7 when hundreds of scientists at the Indian Research Space Organisation (Isro) were glued to their monitor screens at Isro's control centre in Bengaluru,  respected PM of the Nation watching in person, millions of Indians were glued to their TV sets and mobile phones back home, India achieved two milestones and missed one by a whisker.  In focus was 'Mission Chandrayaan-2', India's ambitious attempt to reach Moon's south polar region, an area largely unexplored as most lunar probes have focused on Moon's equator and north pole. It was not just an attempt to merely reach Moon's south pole, Chandrayaan-2 was an attempt to soft-land a rover there, a feat achieved by only three countries -- the US, Russia and China.

On September 7, India reached the Moon for the second time. This was a record in sorts, given the handful countries who have done it before. What India also achieved that day was reaching the Moon's south polar region, again. (The first was in 2008 with the hard-landing of Chandrayaan-1.) India probably missed by a whisker was, not being able to soft-land a rover on the Moon. Vikram Lander (which was part of Chandrayaan-2) landed on Moon, but not in the manner Isro scientists had planned it to. Isro lost contact with Vikram in the penultimate moments when it was just 2.1 km above Moon's surface. What exactly happened next is not known.

After days of rampant speculation, India has confirmed that it’s Chandrayaan-2 orbiter has found the country’s Vikram lander on the Moon – and an attempt at communication is being made.  Doppler data appeared to suggest that the lander had free fallen to the surface under the Moon’s gravity, one-sixth that of Earth, making any hope at recovery unlikely.  Immediately thereafter, fake images of Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram Lander started circulating on social media after ISRO chief K Sivan said the space agency has located the lander on the lunar surface and is trying to establish contact.  Mr K Sivan  said the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter managed to click a “thermal” image of the lander. This led to several people sharing random space exploration images claiming them to be that of the Vikram Lander.

As every TV was showing the occasion live and as Indians watched in midnight with bated breathe, National Geographic took the cake with its brilliant data centeric factual coverage.  There was an expert - former NASA astronaut Jerry Linenger, who flew on the Russian space station Mir that operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001 for five months.  Born on January 16, 1955, and raised in East Detroit, Michigan, Linenger joined astronaut selection Group 14 at the Johnson Space Center in August 1992. He flew on STS-64 (in Sept 1994) aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. Following his first mission, in January 1995, he began training at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, in preparation for a long-duration stay aboard the Russian Space Station Mir.  During his stay aboard Space Station Mir, Linenger became the first American to conduct a spacewalk from a foreign space station and in a non-American made spacesuit. During the five-hour walk, he and his Russian colleague tested for the first time ever the newly designed Orlan-M Russian-built spacesuit, installed the Optical Properties Monitor (OPM) and Benton dosimeter on the outer surface of the station, and retrieved for analysis on Earth numerous externally mounted material-exposure panels.

The informative NASA astronaut Jerry Linenger remained unspeculative throughout.    “The Vikram descent was as planned, and normal performance was observed, up to an altitude of 2.1 kilometers,” said Kailasavadivoo Sivan, ISRO’s chairman, in a statement roughly half an hour after signal loss. “The data is being analyzed.”  There were no prying Qs and the astronaut remained cool and did not criticize the mission wee bit not offered any unscientific fancy explanation ~ class !  

 “India is proud of our scientists! They’ve given their best and have always made India proud,” Indian prime minister Narendra Modi said in a statement on Twitter after Sivan’s update. “These are moments to be courageous, and courageous we will be!” Like any voyage to a world beyond Earth, Vikram’s flight was a risky endeavor, requiring the lander to slow itself down to a near standstill, autonomously scan for surface obstacles, and then take steps to avoid them during touchdown. The majority of attempts to land robots on the moon have ended in failure, either during launch or on the way to the surface. In an interview before the attempt, Dana Hurley, a planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, expressed the nervousness that planetary scientists around the world feel with every spacecraft landing—because they know all too well what can go wrong.

If that was the reaction of Indian Prime Minister, Scientists and experts – there was this half-baked media.  During the media interaction after the mission had met with a glitch, an NDTV journalist was seen screaming at the ISRO scientist who was interacting with the media. Pallava Bagla, the NDTV journalist demanded that ISRO chief K Sivan be personally present for the media briefing. Not just this, he even went ahead to call the scientist a “junior scientist” in an effort to grandstand. He sought to ask why the Chief was not present and the media was handled by a Junior.  This expert journalist who understands everything (some commented in social media that he once asked how many astronauts are sent on board – in an unmanned mission !)

Twitter, FB & social media burst with condemnation of the behavior of Bagla.  After widespread condemnation for the NDTV journalist’s uncouth behaviour, Pallava Bagla took  to Twitter to apologise for his conduct to ISRO scientist.  Still, most people were not in the mood to accept his apology. The scientists were visibly distraught after Chandrayaan-2 met with a landing glitch and for a journalist to scream at the scientists because he wanted the ISRO chief to interact with the media was the epitome of arrogance and entitlement, something NDTV journalists are no aliens to. Perhaps what was worse was Bagla calling Mr D P Karnik a “junior scientist” as if the whims and fancies of NDTV journalists could only be catered to by the Chief himself.  Even Prannoy Roy agreed tweeting  -  It’s absolutely sick. Yes, Pallava made a mistake, a terrible rude mistake and NDTV has said so.  May be next time when ISRO or any other organization including NASA sends a rocket in space, this journalist can be on board to steer and navigate.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
10th Sept. 2019